Ffriddoedd Village is Bangor Universities largest accommodation site with around 2,000 rooms.
For Prefect Controls, the installation of their Irus central control heating system during the summer of 2019 marks their largest single installation to date, with close to 2500 controllers in place for rooms, kitchens, corridors and communal areas.
Bangor lies on the coast of North Wales near the Menai Strait, which separates the island of Anglesey from Gwynedd. A local population of just over 10,500 swells and doubles with the 11,000+ students at Bangor University
Founded in 1884, Bangor University has a long tradition of academic excellence and a strong focus on the student experience. It is ranked in the top 40 in the UK for research and is recognised that more than three-quarters of Bangor’s research is either world-leading or internationally excellent – ahead of the average for UK universities. The most recent National Student Survey results place Bangor amongst the UK’s top 30 universities for student satisfaction.
The University is committed to being known globally as The Sustainable University, based on a desire to bring sustainability to life, and is in the top 3% of the world’s greenest universities according to the Universitas Indonesia UI Green Metric.
Accommodation was placed third in the UK at the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2019. Ffriddoedd Village is their largest accommodation site with around 2,000 rooms. For Prefect Controls, the installation of their Irus central control heating system during the summer of 2019 marks their largest single installation to date, with close to 2500 controllers in place for rooms, kitchens, corridors and communal areas.
Lee Williams is the Halls Operation Manager and since 2009 has been responsible for ensuring the smooth running of all-things accommodation, including service delivery, maintenance and cleaning.
Another of his responsibilities is managing Irus. He explains “It has been installed in a mix of buildings built in 2009 and older ones from the 1990s. Previously the temperature was limited by sensors in the stairwells to 21°C and if the external temperature was any warmer than 19 degrees then the heaters wouldn’t operate”. He continues, “We had a lot of issues because the sensors were in the stairwells and corridors which are less frequently used areas with large windows and inherently colder. In the springtime, when the sun was shining, the foyers would become hot, but not necessarily because of the outside temperature. Conversely, in the winter, the outside temperature was cold, and the foyers were probably a bit warmer than outside, subsequently the heaters wouldn’t come on!”
“Before Irus we were trialling other heating systems. We trialled an infrared heater in a corridor of bedrooms, but we didn’t want to go ahead with that because the heat just radiated if you were facing the heater. It didn’t circulate throughout the whole room.
He continues, “Within the bedrooms when residents complained their rooms were cold, we would put a USB temperature logger in for a couple of days and analyse the results. Usually we could prove that their rooms were on average 19-21°C.”
“In terms of the heating itself, the Prefect Irus system is fantastic and it’s amazing to have a view of everything that’s going on in a room in terms of the temperature, the lighting and the decibel levels. Now, if we have a complaint, we’re able to see a live representation of what’s going on in that room on the system – we have data to hand that shows instantly the temperatures and humidity over given periods without ever setting foot in the room!”
The Irus system connects each room-node to the central controller using Mains Borne Signalling to transmit data back and forth. The whole system is managed via an internet portal. Lee continues, “The system is very easy to use. As soon as you log in to your account, just click on the ‘P’ and all of the blocks come up. It’s easy to navigate, intuitive and comprehensive. Everyone in the halls team has access to Irus along with Property Campus Services. The Welfare team also have access and find the decibel level monitoring useful if there has been a complaint about antisocial noise. Likewise, if they are concerned for the welfare of someone who hasn’t been seen for a few days, they can check lighting levels or boost requests in a specific room and if any of the levels have been adjusted this will show that activity has occurred in that room.”
The project started at the end of June 2019. Most rooms were vacant throughout the project until completion at the beginning of September when students returned – Lee comments “there was no inconvenience, and we didn’t have any complaints from students during this time about the work in their rooms”. Lee summed up that the installation ‘went swimmingly’ and that the Prefect team were ‘really friendly, nice guys’.